Other materials stories that may be of interest | The American Ceramic Society

Other materials stories that may be of interest

CTT-other mat stories

I don’t golf, but I’m looking forward to the season because it means the end of polar vortices and blizzards!

Are there any innovations left in golf? Maybe this one.

(Inc.com) How does a tiny startup in Buffalo, New York break into the multibillion-dollar golf equipment industry? For Bret Blakely and Steve Coulton, co-founders of OnCore Golf Technologies, it was simply a matter of persuading the United States Golf Association, the sport’s nearly 120-year-old governing body, to rewrite its rules. OnCore debuted the Evo1, its patented hollow-metal core golf ball [at the PGA Merchandise show last January]. “Is that legal?” At the time, the best answer the pair could give was, “Not yet, but it should be.” Since founding the company in 2009, Blakely and Coulton were committed to getting their product on the USGA’s list of conforming equipment. But while the Evo1 met the governing body’s five rigorous standards for balls–the size, weight, initial velocity, total distance, and symmetry–its hollow-core design violated a clause in the USGA’s official rule book that states golf balls must be of “traditional and customary form and make.” The vast majority of existing balls contain a solid rubber core.


Senator Mikulski tours auto lightweighting center at NIST

US Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, visited the lightweighting center at NIST  in Gaithersburg, Md., as part of her continuing “Jobs Tour” in the state. She talked to NIST staff about the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 that provides $850 million in appropriations for NIST work through October 2014. Included is a $30 million increase in funding for advanced manufacturing research. Established in 2006, the lightweighting center helps the auto industry stay competitive by developing new measurement methods and collecting critical data on the properties of lighter weight automotive alloys and composites.

ORNL study advances quest for better superconducting materials

Nearly 30 years after the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity, many questions remain, but an Oak Ridge National Laboratory team is providing insight that could lead to better superconductors. Their work, published in Physical Review Letters, examines the role of chemical dopants, which are essential to creating high-temperature superconductors – materials that conduct electricity without resistance. The role of dopants in superconductors is particularly mysterious as they introduce non-uniformity and disorder into the crystal structure, which increases resistivity in nonsuperconducting materials. By gaining a better understanding of how and why chemical dopants alter the behavior of the original (parent) material, scientists believe they can design superconductors that work at higher temperatures.

Invisibility cloak for hearing aids and implants

Microsystems are at the heart of portable hearing aids and implants. Now researchers are developing a miniature, low-power wireless microsystem to make these medical aids smaller, more comfortable and more efficient. With dimensions of just 4mmx4mmx1mm, the new microsystem is fifty times smaller than the current models for body area network (BAN) applications – electronics applied directly to the body. To achieve this, the project partners first developed especially small components such as innovative miniature antennas, system-on-chip integrated circuitry and high frequency filters.

Imaging ferroelectric domains

Manipulation of ferroelectric domains can lead to advances in a number of technologies. However, in order to manipulate the domains, it is important to study their natural development. Previous studies have shown that interfacial strain and electrical boundary conditions play a large role. Accurate measurements of the local polarization can help science learn more. By changing the properties of the substrate and the interfaces of the ferroelectric materials, one can control the size and shape of the domains and thus influence the behavior of the material. One promising method for doing so is called Bragg projection ptychography, or BPP. X-ray BPP had previously been used to measure strain in semiconductor devices. Now, a team of scientists from Argonne National Laboratory, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Northern Illinois University, and La Trobe University (Australia) carrying out studies at the US Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source and Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory has found another application for BPP: imaging local polarization in ferroelectric PbTiO3 thin films. In the future, this technique can help scientists study how domains develop in ferroelectric thin films, and thus how to manipulate them, potentially improving critical technologies such as memory storage.